Weekend Review: RP Trophy
Dave Ord, Michael Shinners, Matt Brocklebank and Ian Ogg look back at the weekend and ahead to the Breeders' Cup.
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Kingston Hill was a very impressive winner of the Racing Post Trophy, does he have Classic potential?
Michael Shinners: Absolutely. With the O'Brien horse making it a true test of stamina, there was no hiding place and although it took him a few strides to pick up, the way he went clear was very impressive. There will be those who say that he needs to prove he can turn in this sort of performance on better ground, however there is no reason to suggest he won't be just as good. I truly believe that had he been trained by an O'Brien or Stoute he would be a shorter price than he was initially quoted. We went 7/1 from 20/1 for the Derby and are happy to keep him onside and lay other horses at this stage.
David Ord: Without question. I loved the way he hit the line at Doncaster despite the strong headwind and it was an altogether more professional performance than his victory in the Autumn Stakes. Roger Varian was at pains to stress he will be equally at home on better ground, and his action would suggest as much, and, given his ability to quicken, I'm not surprised connections aren't ruling out a crack at the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. On pedigree - and style of racing - he must have every chance of getting a mile-and-a-half too. In the hands of a fantastic trainer, he looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.
Ian Ogg He was a very impressive winner but you'd have to acknowledge that there's every chance the Doncaster form may not work out. The second, although obviously held in high regard, had been beaten at long odds-on in a maiden the previous Sunday, stablemate Century was the first beaten and the third and fourth appear to have their limitations. That said, he trounced them and I love the way that he travels and he appears to have the scope to improve physically over the winter. His price for the Guineas makes more appeal than his odds for the Derby but neither is compelling at this stage.
Matt Brocklebank: Roger Varian's colt has yet to race on ground better than good to soft so some caution clearly has to be advised regarding next year's Classics. However, it's very encouraging to see how he has progressed so rapidly with each public outing, especially given Varian normally adopts a very patient approach with his juveniles, and at around 8/1 it's not hard to argue he'd likely be three or four points shorter for the Derby if he was trained by Aidan O'Brien.
Piping Rock and Night Of Thunder also won well in lesser company, how do you rate their prospects next season?
MS: Both were impressive and are clearly horses with plenty of potential. I was at Doncaster on Saturday and was impressed by Night Of Thunder. Although the opposition wasn't top quality, the way he travelled and then quickened clear suggested he was a very good horse. I was also taken by the way Richard Hughes was visually delighted with the victory immediately after the winning post.
DO: Richard Hughes was clearly very taken by Night Of Thunder who was a cut above some decent performers on the very testing ground. He's bound to take in a spring trial for the Guineas now - and deserves to. Stablemate Piping Rock was an authoritative winner of the Horris Hill but strikes me as the sort of horse who may be campaigned on the continent in 2014. On the limited evidence we have he does look very much at home when the mud is flying.
IO Both are Richard Hannon-trained sons of Dubawi who have been at home on the testing ground but there's no reason to believe that they won't prove effective on a faster surface. They should certainly stay 10 furlongs and may well get further and it's reasonable to think that both will be given the chance to earn a tilt at a Classic. The yard obviously have higher profile candidates but horses have been known to surprise their handlers and it was interesting to hear Andre Fabre talk about the French Classics for Newbury second Galiway who, although green, was firmly put in his place on Saturday.
MB: Piping Rock is another unbeaten colt from three starts and he has also relished the deep ground in recent weeks. Still looks to be growing up mentally, as well as physically, so there's plenty to look forward to next term, despite obvious doubts over quick ground for the son of Dubawi. Night Of Thunder is by the same sire and has done the job very easily in his two soft-ground outings to date. Has been kept to six furlongs this year but there's enough in the dam's side of his pedigree to suggest he'll stay further at three.
The National Hunt season went up another notch this weekend, was there any one performance in particular that caught your eye?
MS: Although he only just won, Shutthefrontdoor at Aintree showed enough to suggest he could be a very useful novice chaser this year. Tony McCoy probably gave him a bit too much to do, but he still had enough quality to pick up the winner in the final furlong and looks sure to improve with a step up to 3 miles.
DO: Not sure what to make of the Chepstow form given the testing conditions there but I did like the run of Beeves who was second to Shutthefrontdoor in the Betfred Bingo Novices' Chase at Aintree. Jason Maguire got some prodigious leaps out of Donald McCain's charge who only gave way to the odds-on favourite after the last. It was a fair effort under a penalty and there's a big pay day in him somewhere this season, potentially in a handicap in the spring.
IO: Sire De Grugy fairly dotted up at Chepstow despite taking a liberty with the last fence. The runner-up, Majala, was well backed and has some decent form in the book so it was no mean feat to brush him aside, conceding 11lbs. Gary Moore has always held him in high regard and he looks capable of developing into a truly top-class chaser. His jumping is still a slight concern (and there's Sprinter Sacre in his path) but he's versatile with regard to underfoot conditions and looks set for a decent season at up to two and a half miles.
MB: Sire De Grugy took his chasing record to 5-7 with a really impressive display under top weight in a handicap at Chepstow on Saturday, once again proving his versatility in terms of ground conditions in the process. He has long been the apple of trainer's Gary Moore's eye and looks a serious player for the top two-mile races this term, despite the obvious stumbling block of Sprinter Sacre being in the same division.
Tony McCoy is approaching his 4000th career success. Give four words to describe him.
MS: Quite simply the best.
DO: Best we've ever seen.
IO: A force of nature.
MB: Not of this world.
What's your best bet for the Breeders' Cup?
MS: Mucho Macho Man in the Classic looks set to go one better than last year's second. He came right back to form in a Grade 1 last time out at Santa Anita winning by a cosy 4 and a half lengths and looks the one to beat.
DO: Mucho Macho Man each-way at 6/1 in the Classic. I'm a loyal so and so and was with him last year as he was nutted by Fort Larned after a fantastic stretch duel. He looks as good as ever after winning the Grade One Awesome Again Stakes here last time and should be in the shake-up again.
IO: Dank in the Filly and Mare Turf. She's only around the 2/1 mark at present but could be much shorter on the night. She looks an improved filly this season and was impressive at Arlington in the Beverly D. last time out. This doesn't look to be a strong division in the US and she rates banker material.
MB: Chad Brown's Big Blue Kitten appears to have improved enormously this year, recording back-to-back Grade One wins in July/August before just missing out to last year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner Little Mike at Belmont last month. He was badly hampered on the turn into the straight on that occasion and looks good value around 8/1 to go one better in the Turf, with the market dominated by John Gosden's raider The Fugue.